Sorry, I’m going to have to skip a week or two on the Electric Love Adventure album because of my wrecked computer. Hopefully I can get my Windows-install hard-drive restored with my next paycheck. I’ll still be working on the songs, but unable to mix them, and hence unable to post them. Maybe I’ll get around to putting up some old Ragman Records music and writing some pages on the wiki about it instead. That would be pretty cool.

In other music news, had the first Fools rehearsal with Ross last weekend, went pretty smoothly and sounded pretty good. And Tom is in town for a couple months – bumped into him last night – and tells me he has booked a gig for Passage of Deformed Man Supermarket and is planning another “Stations” show, wherein he invited me to do something. I’ve no idea what.

Still filling in time with the old stuff while I try to write lyrics for two or three new songs I’m working on. I actually don’t mind that, because most of this is still new to all you folks anyway, and it’s kind of cool to get these old tracks out of the way. Since last week I posted my very first creation with the MT8X, this week I’m posting the second one. It’s something a little different, a “blues” song I toyed around with since I was about 16 before finally arriving at this version. The drums/percussion consists of one crappy old dirty cymbal and an air conditioner casing I stole from Zeke’s basement when he lived on Wallgate.

I’m A Bloser Baby So Why Don’t I Kill Myself.mp3 (5.1Mb)

You know, Caustic Resin’s Fly Me To The Moon is really an underrated album. I mean, Caustic Resin is an underrated band anyway, but Moon would really be a killer album if they had simply left off certain songs. As it was released, the album is simply too long, and there are a few songs on it that are just kind of dull and blunt the overall impact.

I made an iTunes playlist that consists of Fly Me To The Moon’s running sequence with a few songs simply removed, to prove the concept. The first song to get the axe is track #6, “Healing Cough.” The feedback, Leslie speaker, and slide guitar, while cool, seem to be the only reason for this meandering two-chord jam to exist. Place those cool elements in an actual song and you might have something – actually most of them appear in other parts of the album anyway – but here they seem to be used to try to cover for the fact that they don’t really have a song here. It doesn’t even have a proper ending, just sort of falls apart after a while. Not worth wasting four and a half minutes on.

The following track, “The End of Betrayal,” might be argued to be scarcely more of a song than “Healing Cough,” but it’s mercifully short and has a hell of a guitar solo, so it stays.

Track 10, “I Feel,” is the next to go. Yeah it’s got cool slide guitar too, and a couple cool bass guitar fills, but not much else. The melody has potential but it’s another one of those spots on the album where it feels like they’re just not really trying, and it runs over five and a half minutes besides.

I feel the need to make a clarification here, because even the All Music Guide gets this wrong. To the mindful listener, it is apparent that “White Box” and “Alien Fugue (Slight Return)” are transposed in the track listing given on the CD cover. “Alien Fugue (Slight Return)” is listed as track 15, but compare the melody and lyrics of track 14, the one with the out-of-control analog synths, to that of track 4, “Alien Fugue.” The synthy number is definitely intended as a reprise of the earlier track. It’s a bit of a throwaway perhaps, but I love the unruly synthesizers, so I say keep it.

Track 15, “White Box,” is pretty much worthless. It’s no better than a practice performance, seemingly the first time the band had ever played the song. I mean you can actually hear Brett Netson calling out the chord changes to the band (“gonna hit a G here pretty soon… okay… right here”) as they sort of half-assedly tool along with him. Why include on an album a recording of a song made when the band didn’t even actually know the song yet? Sure it’s the shortest track on the album, but it’s half-assed not-really-into-it quality really kills the flow. I do wonder though, whether the fact that you can hear the chord changes being called out to the band has to do with its title. Think “white-box testing.”

Examining this trimmed track listing, we see it’s down to a still longish but respectable 61 minutes. And there’s a nice progression to it that doesn’t let up. Still, it seems as if there might be room to improve the album’s overall flow by reordering tracks. For instance, three of what would have to be considered Caustic Resin’s most catchy and anthemic numbers – “Damaged Animal” (which could stand to be considerably shorter, but there’s not much we can do about that now), “Summertime Of Your Life,” and “A Fistful Of Violence” – are now all clustered right in a row. Would we be better off to disperse them a bit more among the spacier tracks?

If by a long shot there are any Caustic Resin fans reading this, I’m, interested in comments and suggestions you may have. Would you trim out more or different tracks, or perhaps reorder them?

Excellent novelty/punk band The Turd Burglars headline at The Reverb. Notable band members are lead vocalist Poopy-Pants Jenkins, formerly of Chitipacatoopet, and excellent bassist Chippewa, best known for his work with the Joe Cropper Band and Grandma’s Jam. DUI has second billing, and I’ve never heard of Through Hard Times or On Our Way.

So… sorry for missing posting another song last weekend. Birthday festivities and all. Plus, I’m putting them on Myspace too, and there you can only have four songs up on a band profile… so having got up to four, I suppose it’s a good idea to take an extra week before deleting any to add a new one. Actually, that’s blatant rationalizing.

I don’t have a new new song like last time. I swear I have one or two that only need lyrics and they’ll be done; that’s always the hardest part for me. So this round I bring you yet another oldie. For me, at least… probably most of you haven’t heard it before. It’s the very first song I recorded on my 8-track machine, and almost a blatant nod to New Order, especially the drum machine break in the middle. I wrote it many a year ago, and originally did an even more lo-fi 4-track version with the drum and synth bass parts done using Sound Smith on the Apple IIGS. Dancing With The Dust Devil.mp3 (5.45Mb)

Also: new Fools songs on MySpace.

I dunno, it’s arguable that the Stein is a bit of a dive, of the sort not likely to be popular with we locak-rock hispsters.. but I’d say that’s more true during the academic year. Every so often, especially in summers, they make yet another go at having live music. Usually far too few people show up and it goes nowhere. But I think it’s a plus for the local music scene to have an active venue in the college district, so I’d suggest turning out to give them some encouragement. The lineup is as follows: The Teddy Boys; some new project featuring members of Teddy Boys and The Bandana called The Night Owls By The Panama Kids, and The Wheelers. $5, 19+, 925 W. 22nd St. in Cedar Falls at the bottom of College Hill.

He has to work, but wish him a happy one.

If you’ve already found this article via a whole bunch of other places on the Web, I apologize. But it’s saying things that I’ve been thinking for a while about the Internet’s liberating effect on our society and politics, and I think Mr. Garris is right on with it, so I thought I’d help share it around a little.

Y’know, lylina isn’t bad, but it’s got some issues that are bugging me:

  • It's rather slow getting started. This is of course at least partly due to the fact that I have rather a lot of feeds in that thing; and also that quite often, every one of them needs to be loaded up before I can get a response back to my browser, due to the fact that I don't use the cron-based update feature. Reason being that, I didn't think I had the ability to set up cron jobs on my web host. Turns out I was wrong, so maybe I should go back and try fixing that. Still, it would be nice if it displayed something while it was loading up the feeds, especially if it could start displaying the feeds it's already downloaded and munged through while it continues working on the rest... y'know, more Ajaxy;)
  • The aggregator's own RSS feed doen't seem to work. I'm not actually sure whether it's supposed to have one, but the RSS icon shows up in the address bar when I visit in on Firefox, but if I add it to Sage, I can't read it; I just see an "XML Parse Error."
  • Handling of some special characters seems to need some work. For instance, for some reason, single quotes in feed titles show up preceded by three backslashes ("O\\\'Reilly Radar," "Michi\\\'s Blog") and entities aren't expanded in article titles.
  • It doesn't respond to not-perfectly-valid feeds as well as it could. You can't just assume all software out there generating RSS feeds is completely free of bugs. I've had feeds not parse correctly on a few occasions now, and in fact my own RSS feed for this site was invalid at one point because I used a less-than symbol in a post title (eventually I fixed that by using the html entity). Anyway, when any of the many feeds I have set up in lylina causes an error such as "not well formed," "junk after document element," or "undefined entity," not only does the error message appear at the top of the screen (not really a big deal), but I am thereafter unable to access my preferences page (I receive a page with only the word "Forbidden" on it). This is actually the main deal-breaker for me because it's really annoying. I haven't been able to open the preferences page to add or remove feeds for several days now.

Plus the things seems to be missing some features I’d like to have, though at the present time I can’t recall what those were. Overall it’s still a pretty promising piece of software, but the above point about dealing with invalid feeds really needs to be addressed. On the other hand, it’s quite possible that a majority of RSS aggregators share this problem.

I’m thinking of giving Rnews a try, and wondering if anyone out there has had any experience with it. Or has any other PHP/MySQL based RSS aggregator they really like.

Apologies for the light blogging. I’m thinking of changing-up my style a little and doing shorter posts more often, including ones that just link to interesting stuff on the web with brief commentary.

In that spirit, this is just cool. It’s a web page depicting a hydrogen atom scaled up so that the electron is one pixel. Its distance to the proton (a big blue circle) is to scale also – such that the web page, on most monitors, is 11 miles wide, all of it black save for the proton, the electron, and the column of explanatory text. Thus illustrating just how much empty space there is in the everyday atoms that make up the supposedly solid everyday things around us.

Note that they are only showing the radius; if this were a helium aton, the other electron would probably be 11 miles from the nucleus in the other direction; so most atoms at this scale are at least 22 miles wide.